*New Addicted contributor Els Durnford (@elsdurnford) takes on the Juno Awards this year. An Ottawa based photographer and writer, Els captured the excitement of the Junos in her stunning photos and the incredible experience with her words. Take a read below!
The most challenging thing about this year’s Juno Awards was deciding what to do. Where to go next. What show to see. I did my best to plan ahead, but once we were out, it was a go with your gut situation, and hope the rest will work out. I had my days planned, but looking back I had planned for the safe bets. Thankfully, my plans went completely out the window each day, as I went with the flow and ended up at some of the hottest events of the weekend.
Ottawa has a reputation for being a quiet city, but the Juno awards shed light on how vibrant the music scene can be. JunoFEST used local venues and artists, as well as bands in for the awards like The Dirty Nil and Tasha The Amazon, to create a three night festival. Each of the venues were packed with a collection of locals and people who were in town for the weekend. The bracelets were cheap considering the big names playing, and there were a lot of shows scattered throughout the city, which all in all made the festival pretty accessible for people not interested in attending the award ceremony. All out for the same reason, celebrating Canadian Music.
Trusting my gut also meant that one thing would always lead to another, which left short pauses for us to catch our breath before jumping back into the busy days of events. Using every opportunity meant finding my way to lunch with bands like Caveboy, where we could step back from the madness and talk about music in their hometown of Montreal, and what cool spots they could hit up while in town. Finding that even though we all had our own respective experience within our own cities, there was much more to discover. Like Montreal’s punk skate bar, Thrash? Trash? We weren’t sure, but decided we could explore it together sometime.** Moments like this were a great reflection point for how diverse the Canadian music industry can be between cities, and how we have to embrace our own city’s unique opportunities.
On top of JunoFEST there were also parties and events happening throughout the city’s downtown. Panel discussions on growing the music industry locally, events showcasing women in the arts, and songwriting circles to name a few. Not to mention traditions like the JunoCup and non-traditions like parties hosted by well known faces in the industry AKA George Strombo. If you were lucky enough to find your way into some of the more exclusive events, you were often surrounded by the biggest names of Canadian music.
All these events were merely a lead up to the main event on Sunday, which went on to show the rest of Canada how vibrant the music industry in our great nation truly is. So, whether you were in town with tickets to the main event, or you live in Ottawa already, everyone was able to celebrate the Junos in some capacity. Even now, post-Junos we can continue to celebrate the Canadian music scene, no matter what city, by supporting local artists and venues. And I think that’s pretty great.
** After some googling, the final answer for the Trash vs. Thrash Bar is TRH-BAR. Which isn’t what we thought at all. Still looks cool though.**